Why Are California Community College Students Transferring Out-of-State?

Jul 01, 2011

With billions of dollars in deficit, cuts throughout California have been inevitable. For public universities, including California State University and University of California, cutbacks have meant larger class sizes, fewer course offerings and higher tuition fees. They've also meant reduced enrollment rates. The Education Insider takes a look at why community college students are transferring out of state to earn a degree.

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By Erin Tigro

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How State Budget Cuts Are Affecting Public Universities

Reduced enrollment rates have affected local students from over 100 in-state community colleges. From the 2007-2008 to 2010-2011 academic years, California State University, a school that most in-state transfer students attend, has had campus admission rates drop from nearly 55,000 to just over 39,000. Yet the demand and need for transfer enrollment remains. According to a study by the Los Rios Community College system, which includes American River, Folsom Lake, Cosumnes River and Sacramento City campuses, transfer-ready students have had to wait as long as three years to attend either university.

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How Students Are Responding to Cutbacks

The same Los Rios study found an increase in community college transfers to private in-state and out-of-state schools. Specifically, during the 2009-2010 school year there were over 3,200 students ready for transfer to such institutions. This figure marked an increase of nearly 570 students from the year before. In addition, over 1,400 students not counted for in the study went on to enroll at the popular for-profit institution University of Phoenix. In contrast, the same study found that the combined transfer enrollments to Cal State and UC dropped nearly 640 students from 2008-2010.

California private schools that students attended instead included:

  • University of Southern California
  • Stanford University
  • University of San Francisco
  • Chapman University
  • University of the Pacific
  • Notre Dame de Namur University
  • Holy Names University

Out-of-state public institutions included:

  • Arizona State University
  • University of Oregon
  • Oregon State University
  • University of Nevada - Reno

How the State Has Tried to Alleviate the Problem

In fall of 2010, the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act was passed. This initiative was designed to open opportunities for in-state transfer students. The act called for Cal State, which receives the majority of its funding from the state, to guarantee admission to certain in-state community college students. In order to be considered under this act, students must have maintained a 2.0 GPA and met specific curricular requirements. They are to be admitted in junior standing but are not necessarily guaranteed entrance to a specific campus or major program. To help fuel this mandate, the state approved a budget that would funnel more money to the institution. A follow-up bill suggested that University of California, which receives less than 20% of its monies from the state, follow suit.

Read on for information about similar crises affecting state community colleges.

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